Junius Manuscripts

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 161 MSS. Junius 1-21, 25-30, 32-73, 73, 74-98, 100-14, 115a-b, 116a-f, 118-22
  • Dates of Creation
      8th-17th century
  • Language of Material
      Latin, Middle English (1100-1500), Old English (ca.450-1100), English, Old High German (ca.750-1050), Gothic, Icelandic, French, Middle Dutch (ca.1050-1350), Frisian, Middle High German (ca.1050-1500), and Low German or Low Saxon.
  • Physical Description
      118 shelfmarks

Scope and Content

Manuscripts of Francis Junius, including Anglo-Saxon manuscripts and philological collections. The manuscripts include Latin, Middle English, Old English, English, Old High German, Gothic, Icelandic, French, Old Dutch, Frisian, Old German, Middle High German, Old Low German, and Old Frisian.

Administrative / Biographical History

Francis Junius was born in 1589 at Heidelberg. He was educated partly by his father and partly under G.J. Vossius who had married his sister. A number of letters from Junius to Vossius were published for Colomesius in G.J. Vossii epistolae. In 1620 Junius was in France, and came to England next year as librarian to Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel. While he was a member of this household, he frequently visited the Bodleian Library, and published a number of works on antiquarian and philological subjects.

After two visits to the Netherlands (1642, 1644-6), as tutor to the Earl of Oxford, Junius was again in England. In 1651 he went to live with his sister in Amsterdam and at The Hague, whence he visited Frisia and mastered the language. The results of this study, and of his interest in the northern languages generally, appeared during the next twenty years in a number of works. The chief of these, produced before 1665, was his Gothic glossary. The manuscript of this is not in Oxford, but the contents are incorporated in two of the unpublished works of Junius - the Dictionarium Saxonicum and the Dictionarium Septentrionale. The laborious Junius came back to England in 1674 and two years later came to Oxford to live near his old pupil Dr Marshall, now rector of Lincoln, with whom he had corresponded from time to time. Junius died in 1677. Further details are given in the Dictionary of National Biography.

Conditions Governing Access

Entry to read in the Library is permitted only on presentation of a valid reader's card (for admissions procedures see http://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/specialcollections).

Acquisition Information

Before his death, Junius gave his Anglo-Saxon manuscripts and his philological collections to the University by a deed of gift dated in the same month. The manuscripts seem to have reached the Library in 1677.


Collection level description created by Emily Tarrant, Department of Special Collections and Western Manuscripts.

Other Finding Aids

Falconer Madan, et al., A summary catalogue of western manuscripts in the Bodleian Library at Oxford which have not hitherto been catalogued in the Quarto series (7 vols. in 8 [vol. II in 2 parts], Oxford, 1895-1953; reprinted, with corrections in vols. I and VII, Munich, 1980), vol. II, nos. 5113-5232.